Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 31 January 2011

30th January; Salon des Vins de Loire – Soirée Boules de Fort

On Monday evening there was a Soirée Boules de Fort organised plus a blind tasting competition and a Loire quiz. Boules de Fort is played inside with a special sloping track and you have to wear slippers when playing. It is very much a speciality of Anjou-Saumur and Touraine. It may look a gentle game but the stress levels are clearly enormous.

Denis Jamain, Domaine de Reuilly
Virtuoso performance from Luc Brizard (Château d'Epiré, Savennières)
 More stress...

Bernard Sirot: one of Belgium's leading wine journalists and Sauternes producer

Sunday, 30 January 2011

2011 Loire Wine Bloggers' Trophy: Winners

Congratulations to the three winners: Fabrice Leglatin (Vinsurvin), David Cobbold (morethanjustwine) and Olivier Lebaron (terredevins). The prizes will be awarded tomorrow at the Salon at middday in front of the Press Room.   

Catégorie « Dégustation Loire »
Blog : Vinsurvin
î 1er  
Catégorie « Destination Loire »
Blog: More than Just Wine
î 2ème
Catégorie « Rencontre Loire »
Blog: Showviniste
î 3ème

La Table de la Bergerie: reunion of Le 6 Mousqueteries

Santé!: Les six mousqueteries with Nigel Wilkinson and Tom King (RSJ Restaurant, London)
(LR: from empty place – Catherine Ogereau, Nigel Wilkinson, Vincent Ogereau, Tom King, Claude Papin, Yves Guegniard, Joëlle Papin)
Mid-afternoon yesterday we headed out to the Domaine de la Bergerie (Champ-sur-Layon) to taste the wines of the six Mousqueteries who had come to London to for the last of the tastings to mark ther 30th anniversary of the RSJ restaurant. We started with Domaine Ogereau (Catherine and Vincent Ogereau), followed by Domaine de la Bergerie (Marie-Annick and Yves Guegniard) and then finishing with Château Pierre-Bise (Joëlle and Claude Papin). 
Scallops and a jerusalem artichoke sauce

After the tasting we had an excellent dinner with some lovely older vintages from the six at La Table de la Bergerie, run by David Guitton the son-in-law of Marie-Annick and Yves.
Wonderfully tender venison with vegetables and a rich wine sauce

We finished with a small selection of cheese, which included a very good Cantal, and then a varition on crèpes suzette.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Renaissance tasting 29th January 2011: some photos

Mark considering that Sarkozy may force him to bring forward the launch date of the Martial Lore cuvée 

Some photos taken at this morning's session of the Renaissance tasting@Les Grenier de Saint-Jean, Angers.

'Adoration': Joseph and Wendy Paillé
Stéphane Bernadeau (Anjou) interrogated by The Wine Detective

Jean-Yves and Jean-Hubert Lebreton: Domaine de Rochelles

Jean-Hubert and Jean-Yves Lebreton tasting
Tried taking photos of Jean Hubert and Jean-Yves sitting around an interestingly lit table with decanters. Unfortunately I couldn't get the lighting right. Ideally they would have been sat the other side of the table but that would have been difficult as it was against the wall. Anyway I like to think there are some intruing effects here, even though it is too dark despite some adjustments on photoshop.
Table with decanters
Nigel Wilkinson (RSJ Restaurant) tasting @Domaine des Rochelles


Friday, 28 January 2011

Now in Angers – dinner@Le Relais

2007 La Garde, Anjou, Château Pierre-Bise
Excellent drive down from London to Angers. Leaving just before 6am we were through London before the traffic got at all busy and we were lucky with the lights. Then a good drive down to Angers, arriving with enough time to drop off our luggage and to clock that Andy Murray had won his semi-final before heading out to see the Lebretons at Domaines des Rochelles at Saint-Jean-de-Mauvrets. We had an impressive and illuminating tasting with Jean-Yves Lebreton and occasional appearances from his son, Jean-Hubert. The reds continie to be very good, while the whites have shown very marked progress over the past five years or more both for dry and sweet styles. 

We finished the day with a convivial dinner at Le Relais with Sarah Ahmed joining Nigel Wilkinson, Tom King and myself.
We started with the 2007 La Garde (no sulphur), Anjou Blanc from Claude Papin's Château Pierre-Bise. Full bodied and reasonably rich but with lovely balancing acidity and mineral character, this is better balanced that some of Claude's Anjou Blanc where the richness of fruit and alcohol can be initially attractive but which becomes tiring. 
2005 Coteau des Ouches, Bourgueil, Thomas and Denis Gambier

Spotting this Gambier Bourgueil on the list I thought it would be good to try as I don't think I have tasted anything from this estate since it was run by their father Paul. Deep coloured with good concentration, dense rich fruit and decidely attractive to drink, although perhaps without the complexity that would have lifted it onto another level. 

2008 Cuvée Prestige, Anjou-Villages, Château de Putille

This deep coloured gamy and savoury wine has attractively vibrant fruit with the tannins more present than in the 2005 Bourgueil, reflecting the customary differences between cabernets from Touraine and the more angular wines from Anjou. Unfortunately the label is surely a leading contender for the worst label award. It is difficult imaging that anyone would voluntarily select this Touraine from a retailer's shelf without considerable prompting. This is a pity as the wine is good and Pascal Delaunay (Château de Putille) has reputation for quality.   

Salon des Vins de Loire – on our way

Heading off in a few hours time to Angers for the 2011 Salon des Vins de Loire. Hopefully leaving the rather grey London weather behind.

First stop Domaine des Rochelles... 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

1855 ( total continues to climb – over 210 cases@150K

The total number of cases of en primeurs ordered and paid for but not delivered by 1855 ( has now reached nearly 214 cases for an estimated value of 150,500 €.

2005 heads the roll of infamy with 1293 bottles (107.75 cases) awaited for an estimated value of 81,118€.

Loires@Richards Walford 26th January

2009 Les Chênes, Reuilly, Denis Jamain

Brief visit to the annual Richards Walford tasting yesterday to have a look at the short selection of Loires on show. Denis Jamain (Domaine de Reuilly, Reuilly) and Evelyne de Pontbriand (Domaine du Closel) were in attendance.

Here are my three favourites from the tasting. 2009 Les Chênes (£15.99) is a new cuvée from Denis. Made from 100% Pinot Noir from old vines close to his house in Reuilly, this silky red is aged for 12 months in barrels made from oak trees planted by his grandfather. It has good depth, length and more structure than his straight Reuilly Rouge (£12.69) which is rather angular at present. Bottled three months ago this needs more time but in a year or two should be a very attractive wine.

Denis Jamain in his Pinot Noir vineyard
2006 Clos du Papillon, Savennières, Domaine du Closel

This 2006 (£27.99) from Domaine du Closel demonstrates again that Savennières needs some bottle age. This complex 2006 has honeyed weight combined with a long mineral finish. It would I suspect work well with rich fish and shellfish dishes.

2000 Le Mont demi-sec, Vouvray, Domaine Huet

As Richards Walford & Co is Domaine Huet's UK agent, it is no surprise that one of Huet's wines would feature here, even though there was only one wine shown. The 2000 Le Mont demi-sec (£19.49) has complex aromas and flavours – honey, mousseron and a touch of wet limestone. Lovely, long lasting and characterful Vouvray – ready to drink now or will certainly continue to age well.

Le Lézard Vert: restaurant open for business

Stephanie and Nacer

I gather from my permanent correspondent in Epeigné that the restaurant at Le Lézard Vert in the village's high street is now open for business. Last weekend Nacer apparently had some 50-60 bookings. Will post menus and opening hours when I have them.

Le Lézard Vert
8 r Fontaine
37150 Epeigne Les Bois

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Epeigné-les-Bois: 2011 Fête de la Saint Vincent

Danses de la Gidelle

Saint Vincent – Dimanche 30 janvier 2011

The Fête de la Saint Vincent, the saint of wine and wine producers, is celebrated throughout France's wine regions on one of the last Sunday's of January. The centrepiece is usually a long lunch accompanied by appropriate wines offered in modération. Francueil, Epeigné's neighbouring village, marked Saint-Vincent last Sunday. This Sunday is Epeigné's turn.

Already 90 reservations have been taken and the list is now closed.  

Jambon au sauce Porto
Colin au sauce Beurre Blanc
Sorbet au citron
Aiguillettes de Canard au Sauce Morilles
Fromages et Salade

AOC Touraine Rosé Domaine de la Grange, Bruno Curassier
AOC Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Cave Coop de Francueil
AOC Chinon 1989 – cave of Joël Segret – this year’s St. Vincent
AOC Côtes de Bourg 1996 – cave of Joël Segret – this year’s St. Vincent
Méthode Traditionelle demi-sec, Cave Coop de Francueil

This year two vines will be planted in the courtyard of the Lezard Vert, the village café, bar, grocery and restaurant. M Segret and M. Georges Maurice will plant the vines. M. Maurice was at the heart of the Saint Vincent celebrations for many years and is being honoured for this. M. Maurice also used to produce some fine Gamay until he retired.

2009 Vendange@Epeigné-les-Bois

2009 l'hurluberlu, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Sébastien David

Rather depleted bottle of 2009 l'hurluberlu, Sébastien David

This is a deliciously easy drinking Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil (pure Cabernet Franc) as the considerably depleted bottle above shows. A deep and dense youthful purple, it has juicy red fruits and soft texture with little structure. A refreshing wine to drink, not to analyse and should be enjoyed young. Best not served at more then 17/18˚C – cooler in summer. The wine may be named after a play by the French playwright Jean Anouilh. Pleased to see that it is closed with a screwcap.

Imported by Les Caves de Pyrène and stocked by Bertrand and Nicholas Cave à Vins priced £11.29 a bottle.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

2011 Loire: some forthcoming dates

29th-30th January: Renaissance tasting@ Greniers de Saint-Jean, Angers
29th-30th January: La Dive Bouteille, Château de Brézé
30th January - 1st February: Salon des Vins de Loire

26th-27th: Fêtes des Vins d'Anjou, Chalonnes 

19th-20th: Expo-Vall, Vallet
26th-27th; Salon des Vins et Terroirs, Thouars

16th: Salon les Vignerons dans la Ville, Chinon
23rd-25th: Foire aux Vins d'Amboise, Amboise
30th-1st May: Journés Nationales du Livre et du Vin, Saumur – St Hilaire St Florent

7th-8th: Salon des Vins d la Vallée du Loir, Le Mans
15th: Journée de la Biodiversité, Varrains
22nd: Journée Internationale de la Biodiversité, Dampierre-sur-Loire
28th-29th: VitLoire – Tours Fête les Vins, Tours

Rays of sunlight in the London grey: 25.1.2011

The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23 

Some brief rays of sunshine before it all turned grey with rain arriving early afternoon.

Taymount Rise, SE23

Dawson Heights and the City beyond to the right

Two Gamays from 2009

La Boudinèrie, 2009 Gamay, AC Touraine, Noëlla Morantin

There are some things that are quite inexplicable. Take Noëlla Morantin's wines, which she makes at La Tesnière, Pouillé from vineyards that she bought off the Clos Roche Blanche. She is no distance from Epeigné-les-Bois but I have never managed to go and taste her wines even though it was my intention. It has taken getting a sample of her delicious 2009 Gamay from Les Caves de Pyréne to finally get round to tasting Noëlla's wine. La Boudinèrie is quite deep coloured with plenty of black fruit aromas with some attractive earthy and spicy notes. Softly textured this has spicy complexity as well as concentrated ripe fruit. Can be enjoyed on its own but it also worked well with cold chicken served with a potato gratin and cauliflower cooked with hot paprika and ginger.

Imported by Les Caves de Pyréne Noëlla's 2009 Gamay will retail around £11.99. Not cheap I would be happier to see it around £9.99. On the other hand it does come from low yielding, organically farmed vines and it does have the potential to keep a few years.

2009 Les Vieilles Vignes, Côte Roannaise, Domaine Robert Sérol

The second Gamay comes from much further up the Loire from the Côte Roannaise, some 70 kilometres east of the Beaujolais, so little surprise that the vines here are mostly Gamay. The Sérol has attractively sweet fruit with red plums and cherries to the fore. Easy drinking it is ideal as a red to drink by itself, although it lacks the complexity and the additional weight of Noëlla's Touraine.

The Robert Sérol is available from the Wine Society at £7.95.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sève's AGM 2011: save France's diversity of grape varieties

    Celebrating biodivesity in a Touraine vineyard

Sève: Fédérer les vignerons engagés dans des modes de culture, de vinification respectueux de l’environnement,  aboutissant à des vins originaux et authentiques, représentatifs de leur terroir dans l’esprit originel de l’AOC et respectueux des consommateurs. Obtenir la refondation des AOC sur cette éthique : qualité, originalité, respect de l’environnement, agriculture durable et solidaire, respect du consommateur.

Assemblee Generale de Sève 15 Janvier 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape Communique
Après Beaune l’an passé, SEVE avait choisi pour son Assemblée Générale Châteauneuf du Pape, autre  lieu historique éminent dans l’histoire de la création des AOC. Nous remercions les vignerons de Châteauneuf, leurs syndicats, et en premier lieu Bruno le Roy de Boiseaumarié, Président de la Fédération des syndicats, et Catherine Armenier, présidente de l’ODG, pour la chaleur de leur accueil, et leur participation à cette journée. 

La création de l’association de vignerons « Sève, les amis de Joseph Capus », en 2005, répondait à la nécessité ressentie par de nombreux vignerons d’une refondation des AOC. L’enjeu de cette refondation était de redonner du crédit à l’AOC. En particulier par une redéfinition exigeante des itinéraires à la vigne et à la cave utilisés par les vignerons pour l’expression des grands terroirs dans ceux de leurs vins revendiquant l’AOC. Cette ambition correspondait aussi à une demande incontournable du marché d’avoir une segmentation plus authentique, fiable et lisible, de l’offre du vin en France. L’enjeu était de remplacer une politique de commercialisation basée sur le « tout AOC » par une nouvelle segmentation permettant à la fois plus de libertés dans les vins de fruit et d’identité régionale (IGP), et plus d’exigence dans l’AOC (AOP), des revenus satisfaisants pour tous dans la transparence et la tranquillité, et la satisfaction, basée sur la confiance, du consommateur.

SEVE est née de la convergence de ces exigences et de l’appel du Président du Comité vins de l’INAO en 2005, Réné Renou, à ces vignerons, pour qu’ils se fédèrent et travaillent avec lui, avec l’INAO et les organismes professionnels,  pour atteindre cet objectif.

Le Comité National de l’INAO, le 2 juin 2006, avait voté, sous la présidence de René Renou, le principe de cette segmentation de l’AOC.

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes à quelques mois de la remise du cahier des charges  des appellations revendiquant l’AOP (ex AOC) aux instances communautaires chargées de les valider. Un critère particulier de cette validation sera l’examen de la pertinence du nouveau paragraphe décrivant le lien au terroir de chaque appellation.

L’AG de Sève est obligée de constater que dans la grande majorité des cas, la description de ce lien au terroir  n’a été qu’une opération formelle, sans réelle réflexion sur les choix du travail à la vigne et à la cave, et n’a pas été menée avec l’ambition d’une redéfinition de la segmentation. Il y a même quelques cas où quand ces ambitions ont été portées par des vignerons, elles se sont heurtées à des obstacles allant jusqu’au refus de ces demandes. La révision à la baisse a été plus aisée que l’inverse. Et la volonté d’intégrer la dimension environnementale, responsabilité citoyenne de la profession,  dans nos pratiques paysannes, s’est heurtée à une fin de non-recevoir.  

Une partie de la profession veut en fait poursuivre coûte que coûte la politique du « tout AOC ». 

Coûte que coûte, car même si Bruxelles validait ces cahiers des charges, le problème resterait entier. SEVE l’a dit depuis le début : sans segmentation, la réforme des aoc sera un échec, et le système actuel s’effondrera.

L’AG de Sève s’est particulièrement inquiétée d’une politique soutenue par quelques responsables, allant à l’encontre des objectifs de la réforme, et menaçant même ses premiers acquis. 

Dans de très nombreuses régions viticoles de France, en particulier depuis l’Alsace jusqu’au Roussillon, en passant par le Rhône, nous faisons face à une volonté arbitraire, contraire à l’histoire, à la biodiversité, à l’esprit des appellations, au respect du terroir et des vignerons le servant,  et à l’intérêt des amateurs de vin, d’imposer la disparition de certains cépages de cahiers des charges d’AOC, d’imposer des proportions aberrantes et inutiles d’assemblages de cépages.*

Cette politique répond peut-être aux besoins de production des vins de volume, par la simplification de la production, le besoin d’utiliser massivement des vins au fort typage variétal pour obtenir des produits standards. 

Mais cette politique est totalement contraire à l’avenir des vins d’AOC. C’est une menace d’arrachage de cépages, de parcelles,  qui font partie du patrimoine historique des terroirs,  du patrimoine millénaire constitué par la richesse de la diversité de nos variétés de vignes. C’est une menace de disparition des vignerons exigeants et respectueux de leurs terroirs. Elle est un encouragement à revenir à des systèmes de fraude, et à priver les AOC de vignerons et de vins qui sont leur fierté. 

L’expression d’un terroir dans un vin d’aoc ne pourra jamais être réduite au goût d’un cépage.

SEVE appelle les vignerons à intervenir sur cette question très rapidement, à faire circuler toute information à ce sujet, à ne pas baisser les bras, et s’engage à intervenir très rapidement, par tous les moyens que nous estimerons nécessaires, pour que cette politique soit remise en cause par l’INAO, et pour éviter que les cahiers des charges concernés, au lieu d’être l’occasion d’une valorisation des terroirs, ne se transforment en leurs cimetières. 

SEVE, Maison des vignerons de Châteauneuf du Pape, le samedi 15 janvier 2011.

BP 1   -  13116 VERNEGUES

* Yes AC Touraine this does apply to you and your deluded scheme to allow only Sauvignon Blanc for white Touraine.

'proportions aberrantes' See Coteaux de Giennois, Châteaumeillant, Saint-Pourçain and Côtes d'Auvergne where the INAO insist that the reds can't be pure Pinot Noir and must be a mongrel blend of Gamay and Pinot.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Richard Kelley MW: Quincy and Reuilly now up

 Vines and Reuilly

In his latest addition to his The Definitive Guide to the Wines of the Loire Richard Kelley has recently added sections on Quincy and Reuilly. Go to

Picking Sauvignon Blanc@Quincy possible class action

Michael Haynes, a UK lawyer but based in France near Bergerac, is planning to put together a class action against 1855 ( Like so many other 'customers' of 1855  he is owed a considerable quantity of en primeurs from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages.  

Michael would like anyone owed wine by 1855 ( to contact him supplying details – the ideal would be for each claimant to supply me with a print out of their order from their a/c page from, plus an edited version showing just the wines outstanding (as the a/c page shows both outstanding and already delivered orders) with an estimate of their current value. The best way of finding current value is to check on I find it easiest to restrict the search to UK merchants using euro as the currency and to search for full cases rather than a bottle price.

Contact details: 
Michael Haynes
24500 Eymet

Tel: (+33) 05 53 74 23 11
Mob/portable: 06 72 34 99 83


Current tally of wines not delivered by 1855 (
2122 bottles (176+ cases) for an estimated value of over 137,000€. With details of a further 150 bottles awaited.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

New site dedicated to organic wines:

Evelyne Malnic

Evelyne was one of my travelling companions on the last November FIJEV trip to Tuscany. She has just launched a new website called Plus belle la vigne bio dedicated to organic wines

'Evelyne Malnic a le plaisir de vous annoncer la naissance de son dernier "ouvrage" – Plus belle la vigne bio: Un site tout entier dédié aux vins bio. Les connaître, les choisir, les apprécier.'
'Espérer. Ne boudons pas notre plaisir. Le vin bio se porte bien, très bien même. Les chiffres sont là qui le proclament : + 16% de surfaces bio en un an, 24% d’exploitations supplémentaires, très forte croissance des surfaces en conversion dépassant même les surfaces bio. Du jamais vu.'

Evelyne's new site is launched at a timely moment with the news that for the first time the death of a French wine producer has been linked to the use of pesticides. On 15th January Yannick Chenet died of leukaemia aged 43.

French winegrowers warned over pesticide use
A French winegrower, who died after contracting leukaemia becoming the first farmer to have his illness officially linked to the pesticides he used for years on his crops, has spoken from beyond the grave giving a warning to the industry.

Royal Society of Arts: twinned toilets

This toilet (in Royal Society of Arts, John Adam Street, London) is twinned with Latrine No 600 (Burundi)
Spotted in the RSA building during the Sydney Loire tasting on Thursday 20th January.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Sydney's Loire tasting: 20th January 2011 – some photos

Natalie Lafond, daughter of Claude Lafond of Reuilly and Valençay

Jérémie Huchet, Domaine de la Chauvinière
Olivier Mouraud, commercial director of Bougrier

Jérémie Mourat, Domaine Mourat, Fiefs Vendéens with a glass of his Negrette